By Fenny Fwa
I wonder if we Northerners have taken our time to understudy how the South West ie the home of Yorubas live together in peace and harmony despite having the two religions namely Islam and Christianity evenly balanced.
The truth is that since the hey days of late Chief Obafemi Awolowo, he inculcated the spirit of oneness. That they are the sons and daughters of Oduduwa and therefore should be working for each other in political, economic and social spheres.
He didn’t only preached this, but translated it into action. When he was the premier of the Western region he ensured his people enjoyed the dividends of democracy and created the appropriate environment for their people to advanced in all spheres of human endeavours.
When there was political crisis in 1966 and Gowon released him in prison and appointed him as minister of finance and vice chairman of federal Executive council, he refused to join the secession adventure of the Igbos as championed by Ojukwu, rather he took advantage of the departure of the Igbos from Nigeria and ensured that the vacancies left by them in civil service and their dominance in others sectors were largely filled by his Omo Oduduwa people.
By the time the war ended, the Yorubas had become stronger politically and economically.
It’s in that context that the Yorubas cannot be pushed aside by any government in power because of the advantages mentioned as they are formidable force to be reckoned with. It was because of their formidability ie having a united nationality and a strong economic, intellectual and political force that they held the nation to ransom when their son MKO Abiola was shortchanged in the 1993 June 12 election until power was conceded to them in 1999 by forcing Chief Olusegun OBASANJO on the throat of Nigeria. Despite the rejection of OBJ by his kinsmen, but because Awolowo had inculcated in all the Yorubas the spirit of oneness, OBJ still went out of his way to bring his people on board to continue the Yorubas dominance of Nigeria in many sectors.
Having contributed in bringing PMB to power, the current political leader of Yorubas Ahmed Bola Tinubu made sure the Yorubas are firmly in the drivers seat economically, politically and socially.
The bottom line of all these is the Yoruba leadership are not only interested in acquiring wealth for themselves and immediate families, but push forward the oneness of its people despite their divergent religious groups. What matters is the interests of descendants of Oduduwa in all human endeavours must be advanced.
Now can we say the same with our leaders in north? Yes only during the era of Sir Ahmadu Bello. He knew the North is heterogeneous in terms of religion and ethnicity. pushing forward of an ethnic or religious agenda will be compounding our backwardness.
He choose to emphasize one North, One people. And he practiced it by bringing most of the ethnic and religious groups on board. I think, to large extent, it was sustained during the Gowon era.
But after these people, division of ethnicity and religion started rearing it’s ugly. The worse is nepotism. This involves catering for the interest of your immediate family. The outcome is few people in the north have become exceedingly rich, while the majority of the populace are extremely poor. Despite our long hold of power, we remain the poorest region in the country. We can only boast of violence from religious extremist, ethnic militias and herdsmen. The land is now populated by beggars, thugs, cattle rustlers etc.
It appears the situation is out of control as increasingly our region is becoming a failed state because anarchy and violence have taken the certain stage.
I don’t think is too late for our Northern Leaders to imbibe the South West and the Sardauna philosophies in resolving the multifaceted problems bedeviling the Northern region.